How can you tell if you have high blood pressure?


What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Unfortunately, that’s actually a trick question, because there typically aren’t any. You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it.

In fact, when you do experience rare high blood pressure symptoms like dizzy spells, headaches, anxiety, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, it’s usually when you’re in a state of medical emergency and need immediate medical attention.

Because the condition is largely symptomless, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be aware of your high blood pressure without visiting your healthcare provider and getting a blood pressure reading. Untreated, high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart attack and stroke.

Cardiac remodeling
High blood pressure can also cause a change to the vascular system called cardiac remodeling. This process occurs when the heart is forced to pump harder to get blood to the rest of the body and goes through physical, chemical and electrical changes, all of which can cause thicker, weaker heart tissue. It may also cause weak, leaky or torn heart valves, a lowered heart pumping capacity and abnormal heart rate or rhythm. 

All of these changes can happen unbeknownst to the person with undetected or untreated high blood pressure. By the time the patient shows symptoms, this cardiac remodeling may have already taken place. 

How to detect and treat high blood pressure
The good news is that high blood pressure is easy to diagnose and track with regular visits to your healthcare provider.

Your provider likely takes your blood pressure reading during any routine visit. You should get a blood pressure reading at least once every two years after age 18. After age 40 — or after age 18 if you have a high risk of high blood pressure — you should get a yearly blood pressure reading.

Although high blood pressure can run in families, don't assume that means there's nothing you can do about it. It is possible to reduce or avoid high blood pressure altogether by making smart lifestyle choices.

If you do have high blood pressure, making lifestyle changes and taking medication can keep it in check, but it usually doesn’t go away completely. Keeping your blood pressure in the safe zone lowers your chance of heart attack, stroke and other heart disease-related issues and helps you lead a healthy life.

Comprehensive care for your heart
Our team of experts at Goshen Heart & Vascular Center wants to keep your heart healthy. That’s why we offer complete, comprehensive heart and vascular care to help you feel better, breathe easier and get back to enjoying what's important to you. Call (574) 533-7476 to learn more about how we take care of your heart.